Bishop DiLorenzo and Bishop Loverde: Virginians Should Defend Marriage
Redefining marriage beyond the union between a man and a woman renders it a meaningless institution focused on the emotional satisfaction of adults, rather than children's needs and rights.
Though long-recognized in church and civil law, marriage did not originate in church or state but in nature. Long before nations or organized religions, the institution of marriage existed as the union of one man and one woman.Marriage has been shown throughout history to be civilization's irreplaceable building block, benefiting children and society at large. No religion, government or individual has the right or legitimate authority to alter the original design of marriage. Likewise, neither the attorney general nor the courts have the authority to impose a new definition of marriage on society.
Virginians should defend marriage
Bishops Francis X. DiLorenzo and Paul S. Loverde
Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, while leaving states the authority to define marriage. Virginia's citizens did precisely that when they strongly endorsed a 2006 state constitutional amendment affirming marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
On Jan. 23, less than two weeks after taking the oath of office, Virginia's new attorney general, Mark Herring, turned his back on the expressed wishes of our commonwealth's citizens when he announced he would not defend the constitutional amendment but would instead join the plaintiffs and actively oppose it in pending litigation.
While declining to defend the state constitution without even appointing outside counsel is unusual enough for the state's top attorney, his decision to actively challenge the state's definition of marriage - a definition he voted for when serving as a state senator - is shocking and reckless.
Much has been written already about the responsibility attorneys general have to defend state laws, whether they agree with those laws or not. We join many others in calling on Herring to do the job he was elected to perform.
But what is at stake here far surpasses the issue of the attorney general's role and integrity. Most fundamentally, what is at stake is the preservation of the family, the fundamental and foundational unit of society.
Though long-recognized in church and civil law, marriage did not originate in church or state but in nature. Long before nations or organized religions, the institution of marriage existed as the union of one man and one woman.
Marriage has been shown throughout history to be civilization's irreplaceable building block, benefiting children and society at large. No religion, government or individual has the right or legitimate authority to alter the original design of marriage. Likewise, neither the attorney general nor the courts have the authority to impose a new definition of marriage on society.
Hand in hand with the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage is also the church's insistence on avoiding all forms of unjust discrimination.
Every person is created in the image and likeness of God and is deserving of dignity and respect, a reality our Holy Father's actions and words beautifully demonstrate. While declining to judge persons with same-sex attractions, Pope Francis, a self-described "son of the Church," has consistently warned against redefining an institution written in natural law.
When his own country, Argentina, debated the issue, he declared, "At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God's law engraved in our hearts."
We echo Pope Francis' message and the timeless teaching of our faith that the institution of marriage is based in the objective, biological reality that men and women are different, yet complementary.
Government recognizes marriage not because it has an interest in affording legal protection to the emotional commitment made between two people. Rather, it recognizes marriage because it has an interest in the union of one man and one woman, whose sexual complementarity is ordered toward the procreation of children.
Decades of research demonstrate that children do best when raised by a mother and a father, affirming that mothers and fathers are not interchangeable or irrelevant to children's well-being. Redefining marriage beyond the union between a man and a woman renders it a meaningless institution focused on the emotional satisfaction of adults, rather than children's needs and rights.
Out of concern for the needs and rights of children, and because we cannot violate our conscience by doing otherwise, we will continue to defend marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Virginians approved the constitutional marriage amendment by a significant margin because they understood the unique benefit this institution provides individual families and society; the commonwealth should preserve this original design.
We call upon the attorney general to honor the oath he took, as we call upon all Virginians to defend marriage.
The Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo is bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. The Most Rev. Paul S. Loverde is bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More U.S. News
- Interview With Cardinal SeŠn Patrick O'Malley Gives Insights into the Heart of Pope Francis
- Deal W. Hudson: Why Social Conservatives Should Become Cultural Conservatives
- CORPORATE SPY: Engineering consultant accused of stealing secrets from DuPont for Chinese
- 24th season of Defending Life Premiered March 5th on EWTN
- Justina Pelletier: Massachusetts DCF Running for Cover Under Legal and Media Pressure
- Matt C. Abbott On a New Book, The Seven Big Myths About Marriage
- Deal Hudson on Culture and the Death of God
- 'Ag gag' bill passes in Idaho; filming at farms now prohibited
- Man becomes first married Catholic priest in the United States with Vatican blessing
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?